Authors: Desiré Carioti, Marta Franca Masia, Simona Travellini & Manuela Berlingeri.

Article: Orthographic depth and developmental dyslexia: a meta-analytic study.

Publication: Annals of Dyslexia (Wiley). 2021 | DOI: 10.1007/s11881-021-00226-0

[Full Text]


Cross-cultural studies have suggested that reading deficits in developmental dyslexia (DD)
can be moderated by orthographic depth. To further explore this issue and assess the
moderating role of orthographic depth in the developmental cognitive trajectories of
dyslexic and typical readers, we systematically reviewed 113 studies on DD that were
published from 2013 to 2018 and selected 79 in which participants received an official DD
diagnosis. Each study was classified according to orthographic depth (deep vs. shallow)
and participant age (children vs. adults). We assessed the difference between DD and
control groups’ performance in reading tasks and in a wide range of cognitive domains
associated with reading (phonological awareness (PA), rapid automatized naming (RAN),
short-term working memory (WM), and nonverbal reasoning), including age and orthographies as moderators. We found an age-by-orthography interaction effect in word reading accuracy and a significant effect of age in pseudoword reading accuracy, but we found no effect of age and orthographic depth on the fluency parameters. These results suggest that reading speed is a reliable index for discriminating between DD and control groups across European orthographies from childhood to adulthood. A similar pattern of results emerged for PA, RAN, and short-term/WM. Our findings are discussed in relation to their impact on clinical practice while considering the orthographic depth and developmental level.

Tagged as: meta-analysis and orthographic depth


Carioti, D., Masia, M.F., Travellini, S. et al. Orthographic depth and developmental dyslexia: a meta-analytic study. Ann. of Dyslexia (2021).

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